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Starting off into the School Year 2021/22

Dear members of the GISW school community,

After receiving a very warm welcome to the GISW, I am looking forward to starting the new school year with all our preschoolers and students very soon. In the interest of our students’ emotional and social development , it is very important for us as a school to now take a big step towards "normalcy" by beginning the school year - with due caution - with in-person classes for all. Classes will be held at the school every day for the entire student body, there will be no distance learning. The School Entry Level (SEL) classes will be held in the SEL rooms. Classes for grades 1 through 4 will once again be held in the elementary school building and homerooms for grades 5 to 12 will all be in the main building. We are especially looking forward to returning to teaching subject classes for grades 5 through 12 in the respective subject rooms after not being able to use these rooms for a long period of time: Music in the Music Room, Art in the Art Room, Chemistry, Physics and Biology in our modern Science Building. Tables and chairs in these subject rooms will always be cleaned with disposable wipes by the class leaving the room, so that the next class will start off their class with disinfected furniture. Of course, all rooms are also professionally cleaned on a daily basis by our experienced cleaning staff.

The first day for School Entry Level and Grades 2-12 will be Thursday, August 19, 2021 with classes beginning at 8:10 am. Please plan to arrive at school early on the first day so your child has some time to find his/her classroom. The first day at the preschool is Monday, August 23. Please bring your preschooler to the gate in the lower parking lot between 8 and 9 am. The first day with the traditional Schultüten-Ceremony for the first grades is also on Monday, August 23. Parents are cordially invited to attend the ceremony starting at 9 am with their child and Schultüte  (decorated cone.) . The invitation has already been sent out separately.

The school requires students, teachers and staff to be tested here in the area (MD, VA or DC) within 72 hours prior of their first attendance at the school. Without a negative test result, entrance to our school buildings will not be permitted. To support you and your family in the preparations, we offer COVID-19 testing in the cafeteria, with results sent directly to our school nurse. The exact dates are in the Detailed important organizational policies for the School Year 2021/22. If you are having yourself or your children tested elsewhere (all types of Covid-testing are accepted by the school), please be sure to send the test result to nurse@giswashington.org before the first day of school.

All children under the age of 12 who are not eligible to be vaccinated yet will continue to be kept in separate cohorts due to the increased risk of infection from Covid Delta. This means that they will spend the entire school day, including breaks, in their class and will not come into contact with preschoolers or students from other groups/classrooms.

Children 12 and older, many of whom are already fully immunized, will be taught mostly in class, but will once again now have access to our subject-specific classrooms for music, art and science.

All classrooms are entered only through the outside doors and seating is at least 3 feet apart. Masks are mandatory in all school buildings. For those under the age of 12, which is every grade level up to and including grade 6 the wearing of masks is mandatory outdoors. For grades 7 through 12, where everyone is at least 12 years old, the wearing of masks is required indoors, but it is not required outdoors. The school provides recess supervision and asks that everyone continue to behave responsibly.

Our fully vaccinated parents may attend scheduled appointments in the school buildings after completing the online Health Tracker and with a face mask. These could be appointments such as a scheduled conversation with a teacher or administrator or an appointment to pick up a book order at the bookstore. The FRIENDS will meet in a room next to the nurse's office for regular crafting sessions. As a general rule, we ask anyone who has symptoms of illness not to come to school.

Overall, we express our hope that those who are eligible and able to be vaccinated have done so with the best interest of all of us in mind to continue to bring our entire school community through the pandemic safe and sound.

Detailed important organizational policies for the School Year 2021/22 can be found here. If you have any questions, please send them to schulleitung@giswashington.org or contact my assistant, Ms. Anja Sampson, at asampson@giswashington.org to make an appointment with me.

We keep a close eye on how the health situation is evolving in our area and closely monitor communications from official agencies such as the CDC, Maryland State Health Department and Montgomery County. Additionally, we are in regular contact with other independent schools in the area as we make decisions for GISW. Overall, as a school community, we must remain flexible should the situation worsen to the point where we would need to make restrictions, but along with you, we hope for the best.

Looking forward to meeting all of you and your children in person soon Warmest regards and best wishes for a successful, good school year, especially for your children and all members of our school community.

Sincerely,

Annegret Jung-Wanders

Head of School

IMPORTANT: Detailed important organizational policies for the School Year 2021/22

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